THE EXCITEMENT continues this week, and into next as well. Starting today, Sunday the 20th, through Wednesday the 23rd, the four planets in the Cardinal Grand Cross are at their closest proximity by degree — which means the configuration is technically most exact (and strongest in influence) over these four days.
We can imagine a grand cross (also called a grand square) as four planets sitting on four sides of a table, each with a different agenda and a different style of communicating. For this grand cross, sitting at the table are:
Uranus, the liberator, the rebel, the planet that inspires awakenings in consciousness and stirs restlessness with the status quo, especially anything that feels like a limitation or expectation. Uranus is in action-oriented Aries, which means our feelings of dissatisfaction very easily are turned into action for change. Depending on where Uranus is transiting through our birth charts, we may be feeling the need for change in our jobs (6th house), our relationships (7th house), our home environment (4th house), or elsewhere.
Pluto, the transformer, the intensifier, the planet that brings powerful desires to the surface as a vehicle for necessary change. Pluto is in goal-oriented Capricorn, giving an extra level of intensity to our ambitions and desires to make a difference. Wherever Pluto is transiting through our charts reveals the area of life where we are releasing old, outworn methods and opening to greater empowerment — perhaps in how we communicate (3rd house), in our actual career or vocation (10th house), or through our use of our time and other personal resources (2nd house).
Jupiter, called “the greater benefic” because the effect of this largest planet in our solar system is amplification — which can be a positive or a negative, depending on what is being magnfied! Jupiter is in emotion-centered, security-oriented Cancer, amplifying our needs for family and home, and also magnifying our feelings of sensitivity and vulnerability. As Jupiter transits our charts, we may be putting on an extra layer of protection/weight (1st house), feeling a higher level of inspiration and creativity (5th house), or wanting to spend lots of time with friends and our greater community (11th house).
Mars, the activator, the planet that often acts as a triggering device for the influence inherent in any configuration. Mars carries the energies of initiation, assertiveness, and pro-activity. However, Mars is currently retrograde (going backward) in conciliatory Libra, which throws most of our typical interpretations of the planet’s effects out the window — or at least restrains them somewhat. Instead of prodding us to act impulsively on our deeper desires and needs, retrograde Mars in Libra is requiring that we first find a new level of internal balance and cooperation between the different aspects of our beings. With Mars transiting our 12th house, we may find that balance through meditation and dreamwork; in the 8th house, through shamanic journeys and psychotherapies; or in the 9th house, through seeking the wisdom and intuitive knowing of our higher selves.
THE TENSION of a grand cross configuration comes from the differences between the signs involved:
- Aries is a fire sign, motivated primarily by the need to assert and know Itself.
- Opposite Aries is Libra, an air sign motivated by the need to create relationship and harmony.
- Squaring (90 degrees away from) those two signs isCancer, a water sign motivated by the urge to protect and care for.
- Opposite Cancer is the earth sign Capricorn, motivated by the need to achieve tangible success.
The different elements associated with each sign tell us a bit more about each one and how it moves through life. In general, fire signs such as Aries act from inspiration; air signs such as Libra act after mental deliberation; water signs such as Cancer act based on emotional responses; and earth signs such as Capricorn act based on what makes the most practical sense.
THIS IS WHY I feel the most successful navigation of this week’s grand cross will come through staying in balance. Clearly, none of these signs is “the bad guy” that we need to stay away from. Each has its gifts, and its own way of perceiving what is most important.
The problems come when we get out of balance, which usually means we also start drawing on the negative qualities associated with each sign. When Aries is out of balance, we are aggressive or angry. When Libra is out of balance, we are indecisive, people-pleasing, or passive-aggressive. When Cancer is out of balance, we are defensive, shy, or smothering. When Capricorn is out of balance, we ignore the emotional needs of ourselves and others, focusing only on the end goal — “the ends justify the means.”
DURING this grand cross week, as we look around us, and especially within us, we are likely to find both the positive and the negative expressions of each of these signs manifesting. If — – or perhaps when — we do, we can check in with our own energy systems and see where we are out of balance, and which planet/sign pair is needing attention.
If we are angry and restless (Uranus in Aries): Where are we negating our needs and desires? Where are we living by “shoulds” rather than according to the truth of our beings? And, what physical activity can we engage in, to help move the anger out of our bodies?
If we are resentful and caught in power struggles (Pluto in Capricorn): What attitudes are we holding that keep us in situations where we are “less than?” What internal strengths do we need to claim and fully own, that are the opposite of what we are exhibiting when we get caught up in those power struggles? And, how can we release the patterns that keep us powerless, and find new ways to accomplish our goals?If we are defensive or feeling fearful and unsafe (Jupiter in Cancer): How can we truly nurture ourselves and attend to the needs of our fearful inner child, without falling prey to the fear itself? How can we open our hearts in situations when we feel compelled to close them? And, what is needed to reinforce the core of faith and hope within us, so that we know that we really are safe?If we are anxious about telling others what we want, or find ourselves acting in passive-aggressive ways (Mars in Libra): How often do we say “yes” when our gut is saying “no?” Are there ways in which our relationships with others are built on a false harmony, rather than on honest sharing? How can we deepen our relationship with ourselves — the self that is actually our Most Significant Other — so that we have the courage and self-worth to be authentically ourselves in all areas of our lives?
AS WE look at each of these planet/sign pairs in turn, and realize that all four of them are knocking on our door at the same time, it’s clear why this is such a powerful time. Imagine that the table where these four are sitting is actually the dining table in our house, and we’ve invited them in for a meal. And now — NOW — we must find ways to engage them, to bring out their most positive traits.
Ultimately, we want to integrate into ourselves the positive qualities that these four planets represent — liberation, empowerment, optimism, and courage. And we want to create our lives so that we partake of equal amounts of what the signs represent — self-interest and independence balanced with cooperative relationship, and a healthy inner emotional life balanced with productivity and achievements in the outer world.
Next week — Solar Eclipse! The ride continues.
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